Washington, DC Journalism Program

The Washington, DC Journalism Program offers graduate and undergraduate journalism students the chance to spend a semester in Washington, DC meeting newsmakers, working in the bureaus of national news organizations, reporting on Congress and the federal government for New England news outlets, and studying political reporting in the city where national news is made every day. Participants have the opportunity to make valuable contacts with working journalists at national news organizations both on the job and in the classroom.

Program Curriculum

Students take a core course in political reporting, and a second newsroom experience course. The political reporting course includes weekly guest lectures and special events, and brings students together with newsmakers, editors, bureau chiefs, and reporters. Note: Syllabi are for course approval and reference only. Students will receive up-to-date syllabi when their courses begin.

Required Courses

Students take the following course:

COM JO 510: Government and the Press (4 credits)

Advanced course in public affairs reporting. Through lectures, class discussion, and readings, students learn about the development of political reporting and also analyze contemporary public affairs reporting. Students gain experience through reporting assignments on Congress and federal agencies. For their final project students complete a magazine-length enterprise article on a public affairs issue. Syllabus

Newsroom Experience

Students work for the Boston University-Washington news service and serve as the Washington, DC correspondents and photographers for New England newspapers such as The Worcester Telegram, The Manchester Union Leader, The Bangor Daily News, and The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune. The broadcast students work as correspondents for Maine, New Hampshire and Connecticut Public Radio and for New Hampshire Public Television. Through their reporting for New England news clients, students have the chance to earn clips and tapes and create a portfolio and résumé reel of national stories.

Students enroll in one newsroom course:

COM JO 490/954: Print Directed Study Newsroom (8)
COM JO 491/954: Broadcast Directed Study Newsroom (8)

Advanced newsroom training in writing and reporting political and public affairs news for publication and broadcast. Students cover Congress and the federal government three days a week for the Boston University Washington news service and its news media clients throughout New England. Students serve as the Washington correspondent for a particular news outlet and work closely with the editors there proposing story ideas, carrying out assignments, and filing on deadline. Students typically earn 20-30 bylined clips. Syllabus

Elective Course

Students choose one course from the following:

CAS HI 281 / CAS PO 201 / CAS IR 356: American Governance: Foreign Affairs (4)

(Formerly CAS HI/PO/IR 356.) Overview of American presidencies of the late twentieth century, specifically considering how politics relates to foreign policy in America. Concepts including isolationism, manifest destiny, moralism, rule of law, national self-interest, and terrorism are discussed. Special focus on Iraq and Afghanistan. Syllabus

CAS PO 203 / COM CM 556: Strategies for Issue Development and Policy Change (4)

(Formerly CAS PO 321 / COM CM 556.) Focuses on the specialized forms of communication that political professionals use to win public support for their issues, candidates, and policy positions; and teaches concrete planning skills for those interested in influencing public policy using both inside and outside (or grassroots) strategies. Syllabus

CAS PO 202: Introduction to Congressional Policy Making (4)

(Formerly CAS PO 406.) The purpose of this course is for the student to gain a working knowledge of the U.S. Congress, from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. The course features assigned readings and lectures as well as guest speakers, current periodicals, and in-class discussions. Syllabus

CAS SS 350: American Institutions (4)

Focuses on the most important institutions and traditions shaping U.S. history. Critical analysis of strengths and weaknesses of the American system of government. Syllabus

Program Details

  • Intended for advanced second-semester juniors, seniors, and graduate students in journalism who have already had a professional internship or other writing and reporting experience
  • Admissions requirements for all programs
Program Dates
  • Fall Semester: late August to mid December
    • Spring Semester: mid January to mid May
    • Upon successful completion of the program, students earn sixteen Boston University credits. Students must enroll for a total of sixteen credits.
    • The newly built housing offers suite-style apartments with shared kitchens, bathrooms, and common areas. There are usually two occupants per bedroom and up to 12 students per suite. Singles are available. Each common room is wired for telephones and cable television.
    • The housing is situated near the majority of Washington, DC government agencies and bureaus, national and international cultural attractions, and national historical landmarks. The surrounding neighborhood is well-established and boasts a variety of ethnic restaurants along its tree-lined streets. Students are just steps away from the Woodley Park/Zoo Metro stop.
    Application Deadlines
    • Fall Semester: March 15 
    • Spring Semester: October 1

    Program Staff

    The Boston University Washington, DC Programs are administered by staff in both our Boston and DC offices. In Boston, a program manager facilitates the admissions and pre-departure procedures, and maintains contact with students prior to their arrival in DC. The Boston office also houses administrative personnel who are responsible for everyday operations. In DC, the staff comprises a resident director and administrative, academic, and housing personnel.